Social Media Examiner just released their much-anticipated 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. This is a must-read report for anyone involved directly or indirectly in social media, as it gives us a snapshot of:
- How much time and effort marketers are putting into their social media efforts
- Exactly how they’re using social media for marketing
- Where they’re seeing the benefits of their efforts
- Changes in the industry since 2013
Understanding how others are using various social media platforms lets us know what’s working and what’s not; and also lets us know what we need to be doing in order to remain competitive.
So, let’s jump in and see ‘what’s what’ in the social media marketing industry in 2014!
1. Facebook is the #1 social media platform among B2C marketers.
More than half (54%) of marketers reported that Facebook was their #1 most important platform for business; this means that Facebook trumped all the other platforms combined.
The other platforms ranked as follows:
Social review sites (like Yelp): 1%
When broken down into B2B and B2C, the results are particularly interesting: 68% of B2C marketers reported Facebook as being their top platform compared to only 31% of B2B marketers.
And can you guess which network came in even higher for this group (B2B)? LinkedIn. 33% of B2B marketers reported LinkedIn as their #1 social media platform.
Takeaway: If you’re a B2C marketer, you must be active on Facebook…with the majority of your competitors reporting it as their #1 platform, you can’t risk giving them unbridled access to your customers!
If your focus is B2B, LinkedIn and Facebook are equally as important for making new connections, generating leads and increasing exposure.
For my thoughts on Facebook’s continued dominance see my post Why Facebook Will be Hard to Topple.
2. Exposure and traffic are the 2 main benefits of social media marketing.
92% of marketers reported experiencing increased exposure for their business, while 80% reported increased traffic. This is followed closely at 72% by developing loyal fans and 71% by gaining marketplace intelligence.
Marketers are still struggling, however, when it comes to using social media for sales. With only half of respondents reporting increased sales, this correlation appears stronger for those who spend a significant amount of time on social media (between 6-40 hours per week).
Other reported benefits that were experienced among those using social media for at least 6 hours per week were growing business partnerships, lead generation, reduced marketing expenses and improved search rankings.
Takeaway: For optimal results, you should expect to spend at least 6 hours each week on your social media marketing. Benefits you’re most likely to see from your efforts include increased brand exposure and website traffic. Since increased sales aren’t a major benefit, work hard to bring your social media fans and followers into your online sales funnel where you can nurture long-term, profitable relationships.
3. In the coming year we can expect to see a major increase in blogging.
And I quote: “Not since 2010 has blogging topped our charts as the number-one area of increased activity for marketers.”
With 68% of marketers reporting that they plan to increase their blogging efforts (and a further 16% stating that their efforts will remain stable), we can expect to see a significant investment in blogging over the next year.
Other platforms where we can expect to see an increase include: YouTube (67%), Twitter (67%), LinkedIn (64%), Facebook (64%) and Google + (61%).
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that the platform that’s expected to see the biggest jump this year (as compared to previous years) is….podcasting! We can expect to see a three-fold jump in the number of marketers making use of podcasting over the coming year.
Takeaway: As blogging becomes even more competitive (how is that even possible?!), make sure you find new and creative ways to stand out from your competitors. This means that regularly writing content your audience will love will be even more important. Also, if you’ve been considering trying your hand at podcasting, now’s the time!
For more on using blogging for your business, see my post 21 Types of Blog Posts That Get People Talking.
Some other findings I found interesting:
- Most marketers report doing their own social media marketing (as opposed to outsourcing)
- In terms of paid social media ads, Facebook is the CLEAR winner (90%, as compared to 20% who use LinkedIn ads)
- In terms of content, use of original content beats out curated content (94% as compared to 73%)
- Marketers plan to increase the use of their content in the following order: written content (81%), videos (73%), infographics (70%) curation (46%) and audio (33%).
I always love seeing how other marketers are using social media. It gives me an idea of if and where I should be shifting my focus, and what we can expect to see over the coming year.
What surprised you in this report? How does this impact your plans for the coming year? Share with us below!